Whether it’s a stroll along Christmas Card Lane in Lutz, tree lighting festivities in Zephyrhills, synchronized tree lights and music at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, or a magical Christmas parade in Dade City — there are plenty of holiday events in coming weeks to put on your calendars.
Several events are planned in anticipation of the holidays in Lutz.
Shoppers looking for a unique gift may want to check out the 2014 Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival at Lake Park, 17302 N. Dale Mabry Highway, on the weekend of Dec. 6-7.
The annual event attracts more than 250 vendors, offering a wide array of items including paintings, photography, jewelry, woodcarvings, ceramics and pottery, and stained glass.
The juried art show awards cash prizes as the year’s biggest fundraiser for the GFWC Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club, and supports a multitude of community organizations and activities. The event also features various food selections, including the woman’s club’s famous peach cobbler.
The event’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 6, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7. There is no admission charge, but parking costs $2.
The Lutz community also is planning a couple other events likely to appeal to those who enjoy old-fashioned holiday festivities. At the 18th annual Christmas at the Old Lutz School, 18819 U.S. 41 N., visitors can walk through rooms to enjoy holiday displays, listen to musical presentations, sip a cup of hot chocolate, and nibble on a cookie.
There is no admission charge, but donations are accepted. Proceeds are used for the Old Lutz School. Canned foods and new toys also are accepted to provide for those less fortunate.
It’s open this year from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 11, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 16, Dec. 18, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 26, Dec. 27 and Dec. 28. For a nominal fee, children can enjoy breakfast with Santa from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 13.
For those who like entertainment, the heartwarming Christmas musical, “3 Wise Men and a Baby” may be just the ticket. Heritage Church, 1854 Oak Grove Blvd., in Lutz, is presenting free performances of the play at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13, and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 14.
Lutz also is planning another community event beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16, when it will showcase its Christmas Card Lane.
The event features the displays of four-by-eight-foot illuminated holiday cards, along with performances by children from local schools, a visit by Santa, hot chocolate and cookies.
The event takes place at the corner of U.S. 41 and Lutz Lake Fern Road in the vicinity of the Lutz Train Depot near the library.
Those who enjoy holiday concerts may want to plan on attending one of two presentations of “A Saint Leo Christmas,” at Saint Leo University in the town of St. Leo. The free presentations are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 in the Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms of the Student Community Center, 33701 State Road 52.
Although admission is free, those attending the 7 p.m. show must call to reserve tickets to be assured seating. To reserve a seat, call Tamra Hunt at (352) 588-8294.
The Founders Garden Club of San Antonio also is gearing up for its annual “Christmas in the Park,” held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 in the city park.
The event includes lighted Christmas cards placed around the park by area businesses and families. After the lighting, the Rev. Santiago Huron and his musical family from Heritage Bible Church of San Antonio will present a Christmas concert.
The event also includes refreshments, carol singing, and a Nativity blessing by the Rev. Edwin Palka.
Those who enjoy watching parades may want to mark their calendars for the 2014 Magical Night of Christmas Parade in Dade City at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5, and the parade planned for 6 p.m. on Dec. 6 during the Festival of Lights in Zephyrhills.
The Dade City parade, organized by the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, will feature bands, floats and walking units.
In addition to the parade, the Festival of Lights, presented by Main Street Zephyrhills, has a theme this year of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Another event likely to draw a big crowd is the 30th annual Lighting of the Trees, hosted by Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, on the front lawn of the hospital, 7050 Gall Blvd.
The event includes decorating trees, entertainment, a live Nativity, Santa’s arrival, skydivers, and of course the tree lighting and some fireworks.
Forest Lake Estates, 6429 Forest Lake Drive in Zephyrhills, has its annual craft fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 6. It will feature handcrafted items including jewelry, jams, decorations and other goods.
Those who enjoy a lively Christmas lights show can swing by The Shops at Wiregrass to take in its seventh annual Symphony of Lights. The holiday light show features a 55-foot tall tree and more than 250,000 lights, synchronized to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Shows run nightly, on the hour, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., through Dec. 31 at 28211 Paseo Drive in Wesley Chapel.
Wesley Chapel also has a new performing arts company presenting O. Henry’s heartwarming story “The Gift of the Magi.” Dreamhouse Theatre will present the play at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 6 at Bridgeway Church, 30660 Wells Road in Wesley Chapel.
Tickets at the door are $22 for adults, and $17 for students and kids 12 and younger. Tickets also are available at a discounted rate online at DreamhouseTheatre.com.
For those who don’t mind venturing out of the area to take in some holiday sights and sounds, there are a host of offerings that they may find enticing.
The Celebration of Lights is a new attraction in Tampa Bay, which features a mile-long route that motorists can drive along to see a dazzling display of animated lights.
The event was the vision of Dave Parrish, a community leader in West Pasco who died before his vision could come to life.
The event is open at dusk on Nov. 27-30, and Dec. 5-Jan. 4 at 15325 Alric Pottberg Road in Spring Hill. Entry fees are $20 per car and $40 for a 14-passenger van.
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